THE OILERS AND THE USA (2017 DRAFT)

In the seven years before Peter Chiarelli’s arrival in Edmonton, the Oilers averaged one player from an American league per draft. In the two years since he became general manager, the club has drafted four players. That spike could be misleading, American teams are providing more talent through the draft than ever, but the trend is there all the same.

PLAYERS/PLAYERS FROM USA LEAGUES DRAFTED BY YEAR

  • 2016 NHL draft—211 total players, 48 from USA.
  • 2015 NHL draft—211 total players, 58 from USA.
  • 2014 NHL draft—210 total players, 50 from USA.
  • 2013 NHL draft—211 total players,  53 from USA.
  • 2012 NHL draft–211 total players, 57 from USA.
  • 2011 NHL draft, 211 total players,  52 from USA.
  • 2010 NHL draft 210 total players, 51 from USA.
  • 2009 NHL draft, 211 total players, 53 from USA.
  • 2008 NHL draft,  211 total players, 42 from USA.
  • FINAL TALLY: 1,897 total players, 464 from USA
  • PERCENTAGE: 24.5%

PLAYERS/PLAYERS FROM USA LEAGUES DRAFT BY THE OILERS

  • 2016 NHL draft—9 total players, 2 from USA
  • 2015 NHL draft—6 total players, 2 from USA
  • 2014 NHL draft—6 total players, 2 from USA
  • 2013 NHL draft—10 total players, 1 from USA
  • 2012 NHL draft–7 total players, 2 from USA
  • 2011 NHL draft–9 total players, 1 from USA
  • 2010 NHL draft–11 total players, 1 from USA
  • 2009 NHL draft–7 total players, 1 from USA
  • 2008 NHL draft–5 total players, 0 from USA
  • FINAL TALLY: 70 total players, 12 from USA
  • PERCENTAGE: 17.1%

Since Chiarelli arrived, NHL teams are drafting players from American leagues at a 25.11 percent rate. In those two drafts, Edmonton is at 26.7 percent, meaning they have reached the point of being an average user of the combined USHL, NCAA, high schools et cetera.

USA PLAYERS SINCE 2008

  • 2008
  • 2009—Troy Hesketh
  • 2010—Tyler Pitlick (58 NHL games)
  • 2011—Dillon Simpson (3 NHL games)
  • 2012—Joey Laleggia, John McCarron
  • 2013—Aidan Muir
  • 2014—Zach Nagelvoort, Tyler Vesel
  • 2015—Caleb Jones, John Marino
  • 2016—Graham McPhee, Vincent Desharnais

USA’S BEST, 2017

  1. LC Casey Mittelstadt, Green Bay Gamblers (USHL). High skill, quick hands, extra gear.
  2. L Eeli Tolvanen, Sioux City Musketeers (USHL). Plus skater, NHL shot and release.
  3. LC Ryan Poehling, St. Cloude State (NCAA). Big skill C with an offensive reputation.
  4. G Jake Oettinger, Boston University (NCAA). 30gp, 2.07 .927. Fabulous numbers.
  5. L Grant Mismash, USNDTP (USHL). Physical winger with some skill.
  6. LC Joshua Norris, USNDTP (USHL). Two-way C showing good offense.
  7. RC Scott Reedy, USNDTP (USHL). Center with speed, range of skills, dynamic.
  8. LC Shane Bowers, Waterloo Blackhawks (USHL). Impressive two-way C, plus skill.
  9. G Keith Petruzzeli, Muskegon Lumberjacks (USHL). An actual giant goalie. Luedeke is on him.
  10. LC Evan Barratt, USNDTP (USHL). Small finesse center with substantial skills.
  11. G Maxim Zhukov, Green Bay Gamblers (USHL). Solid .912SP.
  12. LD Jack Rathbone, Dexter School (USHS). A bullet on skates, very skilled.
  13. LD Dylan Samberg, Hermantown High (USHS). Big (6.03, 190) mobile blue.
  14. LD Max Gildon, USNDTP (USHL). Size, speed, skill. Inconsistent or he would be higher.
  15. L Jacob Tortora, USNDTP (USHL). He is a burner and he is skilled and he is small.
  16. LD Clayton Phillips, Fargo Force (USHL). Undersized OD, speed, great shot. Draft and follow.
  17. RD Luke Martin, Michigan (NCAA). Big, mobile defender plays intelligent game. Not a lot of buzz.
  18. L Denis Smirnov, Penn State (NCAA). Undersized W, impressive offense.
  19. G Dayton Rasmussen, Chicago Steel (USHL). Impressive season. EP loves him.
  20. RD Reilly Walsh, Chicago Steel (USHL). Mobile puck mover, great passer and a plus shot. Some chaos.
  21. LD Mario Ferraro, Des Moines Buccaneers (USHL). Undersized OD with real offensive potential.
  22. R Carson Meyer, Miami Oh (NCAA). Undersized offensive winger, good passer. 20.
  23. C-R Brannon McManus, Chicago Steel (USHL). Numbers impressive.
  24. L Neil Shea, Lawrence Academy (USHS). Good skater, he can score. Next level? Don’t know.
  25. LD Jack Ahcan, St. Cloud State (NCAA). Small (5.08, 183) defender is a nifty passer.
  26. L Michal Stinil, Springfield Jrs USHL Pr). 5.10, 182 and impressive offense at this level.
  27. LD Matt Anderson, Holy Family (USHS). Dynamic offensive defenseman.
  28. RC Isaac Johnson, Des Moines Buccaneers (USHL). Tall thin, aggressive C with some skill.
  29. LD David Farrance, USNDTP (USHL). Great skater, good passer, shy on boxcars for OD.
  30. LC Patrick Khodorenko, Michigan State (NCAA). Solid two-way center.
  31. RD Tommy Miller, USNDTP (USHL). He is 6.02, 176, good speed, two-way defender.
  32. LC Noah Cates, Stillwater (USHS). Good speed, impressive HS numbers.
  33. LD Jesse Bjugstadt, Stillwater (USHS). Has size and some two-way skill. Sleeper.
  34. RD Robbie Stucker, St. Thomas (USHS). Tall, thin defender with offensive skill.
  35. LC Josh Wilkins, Providence College (NCAA). Solid C, 20. Has some skill, could surprise.
  36. LD Jakub Sirota, Cedar Rapids Roughriders (USHL). Good size, speed. Offensive potential.
  37. LD Nick Leivermann, Bloomington Thunder (USHL). Small defender, huge offensive numbers in HS.
  38. RC Micah Miller, Grand Rapids (USHS). Small, very skilled. Long shot.
  39. RD Benton Maass, Elk River (USHS). Bigger prospect, has some offense.
  40. LC Bram Scheerer, Edina (USHS). He has size and skill, draft and follow.
  41. LD Michael Anderson, Waterloo Blackhawks (USHL). Strong, good speed, defense.
  42. LC Paul Washe, Fargo Force (USHL). Two-way C, a little shy offensively.
  43. LD Michael Karow, Youngstown Phantoms (USHL). Good size, speed. Two-way type.
  44. LD Tyler Inamoto, USNDTP (USHL). He is a mobile 6.02, 196 defender. Not strong with the puck.
  45. RD Phil Kemp, USNDTP (USHL). Rangy blue with talent, didn’t put it together this year.
  46. LD Alexis Binner, Green Bay Gamblers (USHL). Big D (6.04, 209) is intriguing but hasn’t shown offense.
  47. G Cayden Primeau, Lincoln Stars (USHL). Highly touted goalie. .897SP.
  48. RC Tyce Thompson, Salisbury HS (USHS). Has two-way skills, Tage’s brother.
  49. RC Matt Miller, Sioux City Musketeers (USHL). Big C hasn’t shown a lot of offense this year.
  50. LD Kasper Kotkansalo, Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL). Two-way D is talented but raw.
  51. LC Santeri Hartikainen, Groten School (USHS). Good size (6.01, 185), playmaker.
  52. G Tomas Vomacka, Corpus Christi (NAHL). .926SP. Corpus Christi? Lordy.
  53. LD Nate Knoepke, USNDTP (USHL). Big defender is not a mover.
  54. L Graham Slaggert, USNDTP (USHL). Winger with speed and some offense.
  55. LD Corson Green, Chicago Steel (USHL). Big, mobile defensive defender.
  56. G Ryan Larkin, Miami (Ohio) (NCAA). .910SP. He is 20, pro ready?
  57. RD Hunter Lellig, Waterloo Blackhawks (USHL). Appears to be a  mobile shutdown blue.

NOTES

The first time the draft began branching out to unusual leagues was 1974 (that I recall). I remember reading about Gary Sargent being chosen from Fargo-Moorhead of the Midwest Junior Hockey League, and wondering what the hell it was. Fargo was about a nine hour drive from my house, I was obsessed with hockey, and had never heard of it.

Since then, we have been on a slow but steady walk to this point in hockey history. Folks, I listed 57 names here and the USHL, USHS and college draftees could eclipse that number. It is an actual giant, and unlike the CHL leagues (by middle of the third round they have been picked clean) there are real bargains here because (up to now) these American leagues have been underrated, if not underscouted.

I ran this list a year ago and found that after about No. 10 the numbers began to run together. Graham McPhee was No. 27 on my list but could have been 35 or 17. These high schools and USHL towns are, in many ways, the new frontier for NHL teams. The league has been here awhile but the talent is flowing now and identifying that talent is going to be a key element for success.

For an NHL team like the Oilers, getting left behind is not an option. I would suggest drafting defensemen from the US National Team whenever in doubt, and putting boots on the ground and finding out the real difference between Luke Martin and Tommy Miller.

Put another way, there is a Jeff Petry, a Taylor Chorney and a Cody Wild in this draft, and from my vantage point my list here may have Wild ahead of Petry. This is a hockey league (USHL) housed in a country that videos everything, but for us the USHL is badly underexposed and the true gems cannot be seen from here.

Based on activity since Peter Chiarelli arrived as Oilers general manager, the club is putting more effort into uncovering this new frontier. Godspeed.

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27 Responses to "THE OILERS AND THE USA (2017 DRAFT)"

  1. The Original JDI says:

    US Eh?! US Eh?!

  2. Centre of attention says:

    On the topic of USA development program blue liners in the draft;

    Caleb Jones is going to be a player. Book it.

    Of the three most promising blue (Bear, Jones, Paigin) I think Jones has the biggest tool kit. He can play it anyway you want it really, including physically.

    When you lead Team USA in ice time during the final game of the world juniors, you’re doing something right.

  3. Genjutsu says:

    Considering that only Pitlick was a top 60 pick and only Hesketh and McCarran are no longer prospects I say the Oilers have been getting real value here.

    This was a good to great season for all these players except for Desharnais.

    With his exception I’m excited about all these kids injuries aside.

    More from the USA seems like a good idea from here.

  4. stush18 says:

    Genjutsu,

    I thought desharnais did ok. Typically first years, especially dmen, get very little playing time. From what I read, he was playing little at even strength, but a bunch on the PK. That says the coach values him imo.

  5. stush18 says:

    LT, any word on vesel?

    I think this is a huge summer for him. He has one more year I believe. So does he leave a year early, to enter an oilers system devoid of forward prospects, or does he go back for a year and get his degree?

  6. meanashell11 says:

    no. 45 Phil Kemp

    I know this kid and his family (good family), his older brother played with my oldest son. Went on to star in lax at Brown. Not sure about Phil’s season this year, he seemed to have the tools growing up. I assume he will play college hockey and someone will pick him up for nothing in a couple of years and be the better for it. Would i use a 7th rounder on him, probably.

  7. VOR says:

    stush18,

    A brief update on Tyler Vesel. He is in fact a junior this year. He will stay for his senior year.

    This was his first year as a first liner, playing center mostly, after spending his first two years being the checking center. He is a plus skater and a work out demon who is in fabulous shape. But he is also smallish even for the college game and he needs more time to mature and get stronger before trying the AHL never mind the NHL. He also needs to show in college what he did in the USHL, that he can produce offence without losing his 200 foot game.Vesel showed some offence this year but cheated a bit to get it whereas in the USHL he produced offence off his defence.

    If Vesel ever makes it to the NHL, and I suspect he might, it will be as a Mark Lamb type. A tough, tenacious checker who can score a bit and is plug and play anywhere in your lineup. By all accounts a smart, smart kid who even by the St Mary’s standard was a coach’s dream.

  8. Glass says:

    VOR,

    So if he plays out his senior year, does he then become an FA, or is he still in the Oiler’s system?

  9. Woogie63 says:

    Under 25 Oiler Starting line up

    Benson-McDavid-JP
    Caggua-Drisaitl-Slepshev
    Leggila-Hopkins-
    JJ

    Klefbom-Larrson
    Nurse-Benning
    Reinhart-Bear
    Jones

    Brossiot
    Ellis

    we need Right Wingers

  10. Pescador says:

    Woogie63,

    We need some Foo

  11. Crazy Pedestrian says:

    Hey LT, sorry ask something off topic, and I hope I’m not breaking any Policies or anything in this comment, but do you (or anyone else who reads this comment) know how I can get my hands on an Orange Oiler’s Car Flag? There doesn’t seem to be any available in any retail stores, and the only website that has any available at all (http://www.sportsunlimitedinc.com/edmonton-oilers-orange-car-flag.html) doesn’t seem to ship to Canada! 🙁

    If not, do you think they might start selling some after we clinch a playoff spot?

  12. Ryan says:

    Crazy Pedestrian:
    Hey LT,sorry ask something off topic, and I hope I’m not breaking any Policies or anything in this comment, but do you (or anyone else who reads this comment) know how I can get my hands on an Orange Oiler’s Car Flag? There doesn’t seem to be any available in any retail stores, and the only website that has any available at all (http://www.sportsunlimitedinc.com/edmonton-oilers-orange-car-flag.html) doesn’t seem to ship to Canada! 🙁

    If not, do you think they might start selling some after we clinch a playoff spot?

    If you’re that desperate and money is no object, you can sign up for an account at one of those “my USA address” ship to companies.

  13. VOR says:

    Glass, the answer to your question is that there is a signing window. I think it goes like this: for a 4 year college player that was drafted (Vesel was drafted and looks to be a four year player) the club that drafted the player has until August 15th of the year the player graduates. If the drafted player leaves college their rights remain with the drafting club until the fourth June 1st following their draft. So presumably Vesel will play next year and then when the hockey season ends the Oilers can, if they wish begin discussions to sign him. Vesel can always chose to wait until after August 15th and sign with someone else.

  14. VOR says:

    A neat Spencer Foo factoid. He loves to block shots and does it a lot, five times in one game in his sophmore season if I recall correctly. Blocked 40 shots this year which for a college forward is a lot of blocked shots.

  15. Lowetide says:

    stush18:
    LT, any word on vesel?

    I think this is a huge summer for him. He has one more year I believe. So does he leave a year early, to enter an oilers system devoid of forward prospects, or does he go back for a year and get his degree?

    He has one more year, don’t know if the Oilers would bring him out. There is certainly room in Bakersfield.

  16. Lowetide says:

    meanashell11:
    no. 45 Phil Kemp

    I know this kid and his family (good family), his older brother played with my oldest son. Went on to star in lax at Brown. Not sure about Phil’s season this year, he seemed to have the tools growing up. I assume he will play college hockey and someone will pick him up for nothing in a couple of years and be the better for it. Would i use a 7th rounder on him, probably.

    Thanks for this!

  17. Lowetide says:

    Crazy Pedestrian:
    Hey LT,sorry ask something off topic, and I hope I’m not breaking any Policies or anything in this comment, but do you (or anyone else who reads this comment) know how I can get my hands on an Orange Oiler’s Car Flag? There doesn’t seem to be any available in any retail stores, and the only website that has any available at all (http://www.sportsunlimitedinc.com/edmonton-oilers-orange-car-flag.html) doesn’t seem to ship to Canada! 🙁

    If not, do you think they might start selling some after we clinch a playoff spot?

    I don’t know of any but if I see them, will pass along!

  18. LadiesloveSmid says:

    Lowetide: He has one more year, don’t know if the Oilers would bring him out. There is certainly room in Bakersfield.

    will he play 8 minutes a night in Bako ala Chase/Platzer?

  19. Lowetide says:

    LadiesloveSmid: will he play 8 minutes a night in Bako ala Chase/Platzer?

    He is a little older, so I think he would play more out of the box.

  20. LadiesloveSmid says:

    Lowetide: He is a little older, so I think he would play more out of the box.

    Only a year older than Chase. Is Fleming the problem?

  21. stush18 says:

    VOR,

    Thanks for that.

    It seemed like his offense took a step forward this year. Seems perhaps not as much as we would have liked.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but he kind of sounds like a mark letestu?

  22. Lowetide says:

    LadiesloveSmid: Only a year older than Chase. Is Fleming the problem?

    Impossible to say. The Oilers have slow played entry-level deals forever.

  23. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Lowetide: Impossible to say. The Oilers have slow played entry-level deals forever.

    It’s always worked out so well in the past, why would they want to change anything?

  24. season not played says:

    oh those morning show clowns…..

    “how much earlier would the oilers have clinched if they still had Hall?”

    shit disturbers

  25. Whatif says:

    If we still had Hall and didn’t have Larsson we would not be going to the playoffs. Larsson has quietly made a huge difference to this team.

  26. admiralmark says:

    Whatif:
    If we still had Hall and didn’t have Larsson we would not be going to the playoffs. Larsson has quietly made a huge difference to this team.

    Oh boy. Here we go.

  27. Genjutsu says:

    admiralmark: Oh boy. Here we go.

    And scene.

    Exit stage left.

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